Good (pasture) fences make good neighbors

I am now a mountain man.  Well, ok, blog-writing mountain man.  But I am for sure officially a mountain man.  I have been living out of my small yurt, a makeshift kitchen in the barn, and not shaving everyday.  What? You gaff! Please, dear reader, buh-lieve me when I say that when you don’t have a regular 9 to 5 grind to attend to you get a bit rugged around the edges.  I haven’t had a haircut in over 2 months, my fingers and palms are calloused and missing their Origins moisturizing cream pampering, and don’t even get me started about the quality of my footwear these days, it ain’t Prada!  Yup, cue the banjo; we got some mountainy changes going on, twang.  I remember living in Seattle…ahh the city life, but no, this, my friends, is truly a little slice of heaven.  Though this past weekend was more like purgatorial suffering.  AT least there were no interruptions by the locals like earlier this year .

Tim and I were at it again. The theme: hard work. This time, it was wrestling fencing.  Now again, I am ever the oh-so-detailed researcher and planner when it comes to projects, but they don’t tell you everything in what you read or find in your research.  For example, nowhere did I encounter what to do when you reach the end of one roll of fencing and have to pick up and start another roll.  I guess some would just put in a post at that point and nail it all up and be fine.  But, we don’t have the cash flow to stash a stock of wood posts.  So, we put our heads together and actually figured out how to join the wire ends of the mesh fencing together.  We were so proud when it worked!  It’s these little things that I am now finding bring joy to my life.  What a paradigm shift it is when you gain joy from hard manual labor.  Ok, I won’t push that point.

This weekend we accomplished the feat of encompassing the entire perimeter of the ‘Altiplano’ pasture and the eastern paddock.  This was momentous.  We are really close now to going to get our llamas.  First though, this week we have to Uber-test our handy work.  You may recall that Uber is our neighbor’s llama who is a bit rough around the edges, not to mention “in tact”, meaning “whole”, meaning “he’s got his cajones”, ergo he can posture a bit more than say, a gelded male would.  So, my Fear Factor challenge of the week: bring Uber to the newly fenced pasture and let him have at it.  This will be quite a different experience for him.  I’ve been bringing him down here, but picketing him to a stake in the ground with a halter on, typically how you would stake out a llama, say when you are hiking with them in the wild.  However, he is going to be quite surprised when all of a sudden I take the halter off rather than hook him up to a leash.  But that’s not the real test.  The Fear Factor element is rounding him back up at the end of the day.  Sure, it’s easy when you have a llama tethered to a rope, but in a wide open field?  I will truly see if my llama whisperer training has taken hold (well that and good use of the herding tape).

This past Friday, I actually brought Uber down to the land while the construction workers were working on the subfloor sections that will support the turrets.  It was a bit funny seeing the looks on their faces as I walked by with a llama in tow.  You can tell they don’t really see much of this stuff.  They are used to working on commercial condo construction projects and here they are in the middle of the mountains building a log home.  Though I think some of them are starting to figure out the bigger picture of our project.  Some of them have even made mention of bringing their families up to come visit.  I like hearing that! 

Well, for the most part, I’m up here full time during this phase of construction.  I like to keep a close eye on the materials until we are able to better secure them under, say, a roof and, oh, maybe some doors!  I need a couple of “ohmmmmms”…got some pent up agnst still to let out after seeing the first floor shell sit for almost a month without any further progress.  Let’s hope we are on track.  All in all, for building a house AND starting a business, it could really be a lot more stressful.  The truth of it is, all three of us have had a really enjoyable summer.  The rugged camping-like roughing it was reminiscent of when we had the yurt up at TRC’s campground for several summers. 

However, we aren’t without our worries.  The budget for the house is a big one.  We really hope to stay on track with it.  Then there is the rezone of the land we have to do.  This is necessary in order to obtain the golden power of veto, oops sorry lapsing into Big Brother reality TV.  This is necessary to obtain a Conditional Use Permit for a campground; which is what having yurts to rent out will ultimately be…think rustic resort or retreat.  Anyway, that whole process can amount to around the $10K mark!  Yikes.  It is starting to get scary.  But, I keep in mind that one day we’ll be able to do the outreach to at-risk youth and children living with HIV/AIDS bringing them out to the ranch.  I just might have to locate some other sources of financial funding in order to get there, or it will be a while.  Anyone got ideas?  I’d be really happy to hear them!  Or, if you’d like to make a contribution to help our project along, let me know!  I am always on the lookout for opportunities that would be a win-win situation. 

Well, enjoy the pictures,  and watch for another entry later this week with more house and pasture fencing progress.   As always, if you’d like to know more about something let me know, I’ll put a blog entry together about it.

About David

Making manifest the change I want to see in the world through the hospitality of a humble little homestead campground with yurts and alpacas.
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8 Responses to Good (pasture) fences make good neighbors

  1. Antonella says:

    What a great blog you have!! Nice to see a fellow Italian here in blogland!Love the AIDS outreach idea. I wish I were more business minded so I could give you some ideas. Good luck and thanks for stopping by,Antonella

  2. Becca says:

    I think that what you are doing is really remarkable! Keep up the good work. I hope that you don\’t mind if I check out your blog from time to time!
    Take care,

  3. viaja says:

    Hello David…  Viaja here.  I just read your comment on Kennys space and I just wanted to say,  You couldn\’t have worded it better.  Your space is amazing and if you don\’t mind I will be catching up on it from time to time.. 🙂

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Congrats on the nod frm MSN! I enjoyed the pics…the scenerey looks amazing. 🙂

  5. Cassie says:

    Great job. Keep it up! Just think.. you\’re going to appreciate that shave and haircut so much more when you get them. 🙂

  6. Deborah says:

    This is definitely a Space worth watching.  You are doing an amazing job, and leaving the dream for the rest of us, stuck in the Seattle grind.  I am intrigued by the Yurt thing.  Is that working well while buildind the lodge?  Great pictures.
    Blessed be,

  7. Georgia says:

    You are making me miss my mom\’s llamas! I grew up on a llama farm in Texas and I\’m overjoyed to see more camelid lovers in the area (I\’m from Tacoma). Llamas are THE most peaceful animals I\’ve ever dealt with, and I\’ve dealt with a lot of them.
    About Uber- Why on earth would he be posturing with no other llamas around? Even my mom\’s studs don\’t show off and/or get aggressive unless the girls are around, or there are new boys around. 
    How many llamas are you planning to have (and are you planning to breed them), will you be pack-training them, and have you thought about competing in the llama agility courses? There is also a show class called PR that involves training your llamas to deal with people in wheelchairs, walking up ramps or stairs, being able to tolerate small children, dogs, loud noises, etc. I recommend you do some research into ALSA, the Alpaca/Llama Show Association. Based on your idea for having an AIDS outreach, the trainers in ALSA might be able to teach you some good ways to "bomb-proof" your llamas.

  8. David says:

    Hi all!  Thank you everyone for adding comments.  It is very neat to see this move on to a more interactive level! 
    So a couple of notes from the comments I\’ve read are below…
    For those familiar with llamas, Uber is doing all the typical llama stuff and he is turning out to be a really good boy considering that he was kept on a leash and collar attached to an old tire in the backyard.  There he contended with a motely crew of kids running around him and a couple of dogs too.  Yet, he knows he is a llama and he knows humans are not llamas.  That tells he has had some socializing with a herd in his past somewhere.  He\’s taken right to a halter and lead. 
    The best part about Uber is not how easily he is to being  handled again. It is more that I\’m becoming more able to practice my handling skills and develop them up.  In other words, Uber is more of the teacher to me.  That\’s a good thing (considering my novice adept status at Llamas and Dragons role playing…can\’t wait until I reach the level of High Master of the Realm!! Bwahahahaha…oh wait, confusing my realities again. 😉
    We only intend on having a few llamas that will serve as sentry animals when on the ranch and pack animals for our 1/2 day catered picnic hiking trips.  I think about 5 total for now.  The animals that we\’ll really have lots of will be Alpacas.  That\’s the core of our business.  However, you haven\’t heard much about this guys yet cause we\’ve been so focused on house construction and getting the llama boys we do have over to the ranch.    We\’ll be breeding alpacas and selling their fiber along with a complete vertical integration of alpaca related items.  So stay tuned for more on this aspect later (around 1st quarter 2007). 
    Also, you\’ll hear more about yurts too!  Currently I have a 14\’ yurt set up on the land.  It\’s the same one we\’ve used for a summer campground country home for several years.  I\’ll post an entry about it.  We\’ll have about 5 to 10 yurts (a bit larger) that will be furnished with beds and other furniture for a rustic, upscale camping experience.  Then there will be the supremely large yurt for a meeting space and workshops and events and yoga retreats and, you get the idea.  We are placing that one where there is a great view of the mountains and integrating it with the pastures so that the alpacas can walk right up to the windows and look in on those caged humans. 
    Thanks again everyone for commenting! 

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